Cleaning the Inside of My MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Air, MacBook & MacBook Pro' started by rafaelc378, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    I own a Late-2007 White MacBook and I more or less clean the outside of it about once a month.

    However, in the past some of my old laptops had died due to heat issues, and on one, it was due to the fan dying. My cousin, who's had similar issues with laptops, introduced me to a method he used to clean the inside of his laptop.

    He'd take a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment and put the end right up to the exhaust port of the system fan. He'd turn it on and use a can of compressed air/dust remover spray to blow air into the laptop through whatever orifice (Optical Drive, intake ports, etc) so that any dust thrown up by the compressed air would be sucked up by the vacuum.

    Now after all the months of owning my MacBook, I'd never done it. And living in Manila, as any asthmatic will tell you, the air is filled with particulate matter.

    So, yesterday I decided to clean the inside of my MacBook, but with an added step. I used the disassembly guide from the folks at ifixit.com to disassemble my MacBook so I could clean it thoroughly (I just followed the Logic Board Replacement instructions for the MacBook Core 2 Duo up to Step 12 only.) It's fairly simple, although it may be daunting for someone who's not used to tinkering with computer innards. And there is one part where you have to pry up your keyboard topcase with a little force in order to separate it from the chassis.

    Anyways, I followed the guide and here's what I found:

    [​IMG]
    You can't really see it, but it really was grimy inside.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With the following picture, you can really see the dirt. Right under the main dirty area was the cooling fan. So you can see that the cooling intake is thru/between the keys in the keyboard. So keep that area clean. And you can see why using a keyboard cover without holes can lead to temperature problems.

    [​IMG]

    Keep those screws organized so you can remember where they go when you reassemble it.

    [​IMG]

    Tools of the trade for cleaning. Vacuum with hose attachment and a can of compressed air.

    [​IMG]

    Like I said, it was grimy on the inside. Not too bad at first glance. But with the first puff of compressed air I blew a huge cloud of dust that the vacuum subsequently sucked up. This happened again when I used the can to blow through the exhaust ports at the screen hinge. I also used a microfiber cloth to clean the underside of the keyboard topcase for whatever the vacuum/compressed air couldn't get:

    [​IMG]

    After cleaning the inside, I reassembled the system and used some iKlear to clean the screen and a 3M Magic Sponge to clean the case & keyboard.

    I'll probably be good for another 2 years without cleaning the inside. :)
     
  2. _geo_

    _geo_ Member

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    Wow ! I'll try this. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. shaven

    shaven Active Member

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    had the same issue recently with the fan issue. it died, my fan exhaust was 0
    brought it to DH midtown and i was told to bring it to DH GH, good thing DH Midtown doesnt have the thing for checking the fan. i tried this on my own riks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCDB_NWwe4I saves me 500 pesos for diagnostic test
    it works fine with me, but sometimes i can still hear some ticking sound in my fan.
    i have no guts yet to unscrew my macbook. any store do offer cleaning the inside of macbooks ?
     
  4. RC

    RC Active Member

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    @rafaelc378
    Kudos to you!
    For having the guts to clean your unit and successfully as well!

    @everyone
    Whenever you do decide to DIY always keep in close mind the many screws and their respective drivers...

    As well as whenever guides say "to pry apart" look carefully where those "tabs" are located!!! as one might just easily "snap" those off if not done with care...


    @shaven
    the usual apple resellers that have techs would more than gladly accept your unit for cleaning...for a nominal fee that is...
     
  5. stevezone

    stevezone Active Member

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    wow, nice tip raf.. Me? i don't have any single guts to open my own laptop.. i might loose some parts or screws inside. Lol!

    anyway, that's one of the reasons why I bought APP.. but not all the time!
     
  6. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    @RC: All you need to do the job, handtools wise, is a #0 Phillips Screwdriver since you're don't need to move/remove the HDD.

    @Stevezone: This is more of preventive care and probably wouldn't come under APP. Kind of like exercising and eating right vs having to head to a specialist to seek care.

    As for the parts and screws, like I said, keep track of the screws. And aside from those screws there are remarkably few parts to keep track of. I imagine the unibody would be even simpler. But for mine there were:

    -Battery
    -"L" shaped metal piece that covers the RAM & HDD bays
    -Keyboard topcase

    Real simple.

    As for the guts to take apart the Mac, I've been upgrading and taking apart computers since my old 386 days. With Macs it's relatively simpler. You just need to take things stepwise. I started doing this because back in those days I paid a tech ~$20 to upgrade the memory. When I saw how quick and easy it was, I did things by myself from then on. As Jezza says, "How hard can it be?"

    :)

    But as I said in my original post, I took the extra step in disassembling the MacBook. My cousin doesn't do that, he just puts the vacuum hose up to the exhaust and blows compressed air into various openings in his (non-Mac) laptop, which I'm sure does the job well enough. If you don't want to disassemble the MacBook, you can do that instead.

    PS-Stay tuned for my next project: Replacing a crashed 500GB HDD in a WD MyBook Essential Edition with a 1.5TB HDD. I'm just waiting for UPS to deliver the needed parts. :) (It's cheaper than buying brand new and at that capacity)
     
  7. Chito Limson

    Chito Limson Unfrozen…
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    Just an unschooled observation: dust seems to settle and form grime spots in plastics rather than in metal parts (including aluminium). On metal parts, you really can blow the dust away with a fairly strong burst, but with plastics, you do have to wipe it off to get a squeaky-clean machine. Fact or fiction?
     
  8. ctferndo

    ctferndo Member

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    @soloworx: Dust settles everywhere but it's a lot easier to see it in plastics. Wiiping / brushing is still the best way to take off the dust.

    Just a piece of advise: Use a wrist strap when working with electronic circuits. A wrist strap ensures that static electricity in one's body is properly discharged. I think I saw wrist straps being sold in Wellcom or Deeco.
     
  9. rafaelc378

    rafaelc378 Active Member

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    @soloworx: While the compressed air did away with a lot of the grime on the back of the keyboard topcase (Pic #4), there was still some remaining dirt that had to be removed manually with a microfiber cloth (Last Pic).
     
  10. ctferndo

    ctferndo Member

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    Further to this thread, I just read that APP does not cover maintenance. Cleaning is part of what we call Preventive Maintenance (PM). Maybe DH can come up with a PM. I would believe an annual PM on Macbooks would increase its life.
     
  11. bad_boy

    bad_boy Watching Your Language
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    ^I'd be willing to pay for annual cleaning at DH. That's a great idea :)
     

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